Back in the Prohibition era of the 1920s, New York City was admittedly a bit of a bad boy. With distilleries and underground bars, the party continued for those who knew where to look.
Fast forward 100 years, and downtown Manhattan is finally home to its own Prohibition-style distillery. Great Jones Distillery not only distills, batches and sells its own brand of whiskey. It also plays host to an elevated yet warm and casual bistro known as The Grid.
Whether you’re joining for dinner or an immersive distillery experience and tour, Great Jones Distillery and The Grid provide a welcome respite from the volume of dive bars that have become emblematic of New York City without veering on touristy—a vibe for which any self respecting New Yorker is always on the lookout.
Featuring multiple bars and an exposed distillery, The Grid creates an experience unlike anything else in New York City. It’s a unique gem hidden in plain view of the thousands of people who walk by its low-key Broadway location each day.
Nothing feels more quintessentially New York than sneaking away for some live jazz along with a nice whiskey on the rocks or neat, especially on distilled right in your own backyard.
Chef Adam Raksin is the mastermind leading The Grid’s subversive charge, and we caught up with him to talk about his culinary vision for the space and to hear about all things whiskey and food.
How did the heritage and history of the Great Jones Distillery building influence the food?
I think it is more of the redesign of the building that has influenced the food. We built a beautiful, elegant, roaring ‘20s, Great Gatsby aesthetic throughout the four floors of the building. I try to think what the Rockefellers would have wanted to eat in their whiskey distillery. Definitely the best burger in NYC!
What’s it like being a part of an NYC distillery?
This has been truly a once-in-a-career experience. I’ve always loved drinking bourbon, but now I know way more about it than I ever thought I would.
How did you go about putting together the menu? Was everything meant to compliment the whiskey?
We wanted to keep the menu elevated yet approachable, and always taking into account the flavor profiles of our whiskey expressions. Of course making some of our staples like our burger featuring the straight bourbon always shine.
What are some of the unexpected twists in the food?
I think some of the unexpected twists in our food lie within our chef team. They say New York is the melting pot, and we certainly strive to have a team of diversity. Our chef de cuisine, Fernanda Peimbert, is from Guadalajara, Mexico; and one of her signature recipes is a salsa macha which is spicy, crunchy and delicious. We feature it on our whole roasted cauliflower.
What do you hope diners will take away from their experience at the Grid?
I hope they take away full bellies, fond memories and of course a bottle from our gift shop.
Visit the Great Jones Distillery and The Grid at 686 Broadway and online for more info.
Photography by: Courtesy of Great Jones Distillery and The Grid